Forming an EF! Group
Earth First! is an international movement composed of small, bioregionally based groups. Earth First!ers become intimately familiar with the ecology of the area they inhabit and defend. They apply “direct pressure” to stop the bleeding, with a potent combination of education, organizing and creative action. Nothing is more empowering than standing defiant against the destruction of our Mother Earth with other like-hearted people.
To start an Earth First! group in your area, consider the following:
- Earth First! campaigns target human actions that adversely impact biological diversity. This can include ancient forest defense, endangered species protection, opposition to urban sprawl and the preservation of sustainable indigenous cultures. To protect a bioregion, Earth First!ers connect with it through our hearts and souls. To become acquainted with that which we fight for, we spend time exploring our watersheds, mountains and canyons, just feeling the wildness of these places.
- Your group needs a contact person with a mailing address, phone number and email who will respond to inquiries and share them with the group. This information is also listed in the EF! Journal. Maintain a mailing list and phone tree for announcing meetings and events.
- The importance of responsible security with personal information and associations must not be underestimated. Be smart, be aware and get to know the people in your group. Read Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill and J.J. Vanderwall, which chronicles the effects of state repression on other resi stance struggles. If an Agent Knocks: How to Deal with the FBI is a helpful pamphlet available from the EF! Journal.
- Some of the most common funding needs are for printing, postage, logistics of actions and demonstrations, legal fees and court fines. You may want to set up a special bank account for your group, with at least two people allowed to sign checks.
- Some ideas include benefit concerts, slideshows and tabling; public requests for funding support via radio shows, newsletters and the Internet; auctions of goods and services; bicycle pledge rides; foundation grants; school money from campus clubs for EF! presentations; EF! work parties; sale of EF! merchandise and EF! Journal sales.
- Gather for potlucks, hikes, music, swims, etc. Meet to strategize, plan and carry out your actions!
- Education through handouts, news releases, articles, public presentations, attending and commenting at public meetings, etc.
Grassroots organizing through building coalitions with like-minded groups and generating public participation and input.
Litigation by utilizing the laws that exist to protect what is threatened.
- Demonstrations and Civil Disobedience:
- These are what won women the vote, emancipated slaves and retracted the US military-industrial machine from Vietnam. The quickest and surest way to get a new EF! group going is to do a fun, nervy action! Bold, creative, confrontational actions generate media coverage and announce your presence to friends and foes.
- The EF! Journal:
- All are encouraged to submit articles to the EF! Journal. Use the Journal to update the movement on your campaigns. Announce opportunities to attend your gatherings. If you do an action, write about it and send it in.
Free copies of the EF! Journal are traditionally mailed out to contacts to be sold at full cover price as a fundraiser for local groups (the Journal only requests a postage reimbursement). Contact the Journal office to arrange to have a bundle of magazines shipped to your group each issue. Individual EF!ers are expected to subscribe, since the EF! Journal depends on subscriptions to survive.
A regional newsletter can augment the Journal and focus on local issues, list local events and demonstrations, and provide more leeway to fit in other items. Production, writing and mailing should be done as a group to get the maximum number of voices represented and to keep all of the work from falling on a few people.